Defense, Intelligence Agencies Made Major Moves in Cloud in 2020
After bid protests and litigation, some of the largest cloud contracts the government has attempted can get underway.
Despite a pandemic that forced hundreds of thousands of personnel to remote offices and an assortment of legal actions involving some of the major cloud procurements, the Pentagon and intelligence community made major moves in cloud computing adoption in 2020.
In total, two multibillion-dollar cloud procurements were awarded in 2020—the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions and the intelligence community’s C2E contract—and another, the Pentagon’s Defense Enclave Services, opened for bids.
However, 2020 ends much the same way it began for the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure: under litigation. With JEDI on hold for more than a year, Defense agencies have looked elsewhere for enterprise cloud computing capabilities, turning instead to existing vehicles like the Air Force’s Cloud One contract. Here’s a look at what happened with some of the Defense Department’s and intelligence community’s cloud efforts.
The one constant for the JEDI contract has been controversy. After the Pentagon awarded the contract to Microsoft in late 2019, Amazon Web Services filed suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. As 2020 concludes, the contract remains the subject of litigation. In early 2020, the judge ordered a 120-day remand in the case wherein the Pentagon sought to correct issues identified by AWS in its protest. In September, the Pentagon awarded JEDI—potentially worth up to $10 billion if all options are exercised—to Microsoft, the second time the company won the contract. However, the contract remains under court-ordered injunction in a case that could last well into 2021.
In October, the General Services Administration and the Defense Department rewarded the DEOS contract to CSRA—a managed affiliate of General Dynamics Information Technology—and partners Dell Marketing and Minburn Technology Group. After multiple bid protests over the past two years, the award was scaled down significantly from previous estimates of $8 billion to estimated $4.4 billion over the next decade if all options are used. Through DEOS, the Defense Department aims to provide an enterprisewide set of business cloud capabilities, including productivity tools, email, file sharing, collaboration and storage through a Microsoft Office 365 cloud environment. First brainstormed three years ago by the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Pentagon ultimately partnered with GSA to bid the procurement out in 2018.
After months of planning, DISA bid out its Defense Enclave Services contract in December. The single-award contract will be worth an estimated $11 billion and was called the “crown jewel” of the department’s IT reform efforts. Through the contract, the Pentagon aims to consolidate “fourth estate” networks under a common architecture. As with other lucrative defense cloud contracts, DES’ final solicitation was delayed, with Defense Department Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy conducting a personal review of the contract in the fall. Bids for the contract are due by Feb. 8, 2021, with an award expected in the first quarter of 2022.
The CIA awarded its Commercial Cloud Enterprise, or C2E, contract in November, to five companies: AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle and IBM. Under the new vehicle, these companies will compete for specific task orders issued by the 17 agencies that comprise the intelligence community. When the CIA announced the procurement to select industry in 2019, the agency indicated it could be worth “tens of billions” of dollars over the next 15 years. Through it, the CIA aims to procure foundational cloud services, including infrastructure,- platforms- and software-as-a-service capabilities, as well as other professional services. Unlike the Defense Department’s major cloud acquisition vehicles, C2E is a multiple-award contract.